Eighth Grade

NFS Curriculum Update :: November, 2013


Artists in the clay elective recently worked on a project in which they sculpted a pop icon, an inspirational person or a self portrait in parts using additive and subtractive clay techniques. They were asked to focus on details and finishing techniques. Currently students are focusing on ceramic pieces with an emphasis on surface decoration. Students were asked to choose a clay technique previously taught in the elective that they feel they execute strongly. Students have also been introduced to different kinds of glazes, their properties and finishes. They are now making personal aesthetic choices by selecting glazes that they feel suits their work. The art room is running like an open studio. Artists were given a time line and are responsible for glazing all work and finishing the surface design piece by the end of the term but are able to chose when they do what. We will finish the term assembling our clay figures. Each artist will be asked to reflect on their body of work and all students will participate in a positive critique of each others work.


The analytical writing process is well underway for eighth grade English students, who will utilize specific feedback on placement and execution of elements to polish their critical essays. For now, structure is paramount in writing instruction, as students add this essential groundwork to their repertoire as writers. Going forward, they will leverage this foundation to grow increasingly sophisticated ideas and further develop their voices as writers. Dialectical reading journals about independent reading selections also require evidence-based argumentation, allowing students to repeatedly practice this essential writing skill. As readers, students will continue to explore different literary genres in the next major literature unit, a study of Elie Wiesel’s emotionally challenging but incredibly important memoir, Night. Finally, we will launch the first of several grammar units of the year with a study of clauses and sentence variety.


Throughout October, we highlighted and played many different songs utilizing several different ringing techniques. We narrowed down our choices to 5 songs and are looking forward to performing those songs on our last day of class. We are working on playing together as a team, which is more difficult than it sounds! It takes a lot of hard work and concentration to play the right bell at the right time with the correct ringing or malloting technique. We would love for you to come hear us play on Friday, November 15th at 10:45am.


This month the 8th grade Latin students will complete their work for Lesson 15, which introduces the present tense of the verb sum. As the most common linking verb in Latin and a highly irregular verb, this is a very important topic! In this lesson we will also work with prepositional phrases that relate to place. We will review the expressions of place that we learned in 7th grade, the ablatives of place where and place from which, and expand our knowledge to include the accusative of place to which. As the month ends we will be ready to start Lesson 16, which covers 2nd declension neuter nouns.


Eighth graders will deepen their understanding of linear equations this month. We will find the slope using a formula or graph as well as analyze various slopes and describe their meaning. Furthermore, students will synthesize the special relationships of slopes between parallel, perpendicular, horizontal and vertical lines. Students will also re-write equations in standard, slope-intercept and point-slope form. Given scenarios, students will connect real-life situations to linear equations and decipher the information given from an equation. Toward the end of the month, we will organize data in graphical displays such as histograms, box and whisker plots and stem and leaf plots. Students will predict and infer based on data they collect and observe.

With integrating technology, we will also continue working with Microsoft Excel, learning functions on the graphing calculators and begin using Numbers on the ipads. Numbers is similar to excel where you can generate spreadsheets and graphs to organize information. Students will also continue using Khan Academy as a resource and begin getting assigned individualized recommendations on concepts to practice online.


In Upper School PE we will continue to develop our physical fitness and work on muscular strength with a focus on core. The team sport we will be playing is European Team Handball, which is a combination of soccer and basketball. We will also continue to play large group activities like Atlantic City Baseball and Power Ball that develop skill and agility. Fitness and skill development is an important part of all of our activities, but also sportsmanship and fair play.


Eighth graders will study forces in fluids as it relates to rocket flight in our atmosphere. Students will design, test, and build Estes rockets as a vehicle for understanding altitude tracking. Using trigonometric functions, students will plot ranges of altitudes based on a fin placement variable. Students may also test flights for other variables as well.

Eighth grade students will use iPads with various apps to help simulate flight and trajectory, as well as altitude tracking. Students will continue to use Edmodo as a tool for communication and further understanding of the material we cover. Labs will continue to be done using GoogleDocs with revisions and submissions all done online.

Service Learning

The Service Learners will wrap up the quarter by actually carrying out the projects they have worked so hard to plan! These projects cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from animal abuse to pollution to illiteracy. They also feature different formats—some groups are writing children’s picture books and sharing them with Lower School classes, some groups are preparing hands-on activities to teach our pre-K and kindergarten classes about important issues, and some groups are creating informative brochures and writing letters to newspapers and politicians. Once students have carried out their projects, they will complete a culminating reflection about their service experience. Students will also produce posters that summarize their work, which will be on display at school and online.

Social Studies

This month students will practice their research, creative writing, and digital presentation skills by completing the "Civil War Experience Project." Each student will be assigned an actual person from the Civil War. The people will not be famous, but will be everyday Americans who lived at that time and left a record, either letters, a diary, or a memoir, of their experiences. The first step of the project challenges students to use the assigned personal primary sources to answer five open-ended questions about their person. In the second step, students will craft a creative piece of historical fiction that is rooted in the facts. We will look at mentor texts from Phillipia Gregory and Ann Rinaldi as examples of engaging historical fiction. Finally, students will record their narratives in iMovie and select photographs from digital archives to accompany the story. A bibliography slide with proper MLA format is required. Students may customize their projects with background sounds, Photoshop effects, and other special touches.

Each Friday in November we will watch a part of the movie "Glory" to learn about the many types of individuals who fought in the war and the ways in which the conflict shaped their lives. There will be a project for the movie which will be due towards the end of the month.


Class work for 8th grade Spanish in November will continue to assist students in honing their ability to apply the two past tenses, the imperfect and the preterit. They will complete the “Pesadilla” writing project that tells a memorable nightmare experience. The account will show details written in the imperfect tense and the use of new conjunctions and transition words leaned. Other student writing work will demonstrate the application of the following: present, present progressive, future, past progressive and the two past tenses to produce more sophisticated narratives. A comparison of the transportation, diet, farming methods, clothing, and other cultural aspects of the Inca culture to the current culture will be researched and presented. Students will use the comparative structures as well as the imperfect tense.

During daily oral warm up activities the objective will continue to be to improve students' fluidity and longer descriptive anecdotes.

Upcoming Upper School Events

Thursday, November 7th - Upper School Grandparents & Special Friends Day

Friday, November 15th - End of Quarter 1

Friday, November 15th - Faculty vs. 8th grade Soccer Game 2-3 pm

Monday, November 18th - First Day of Quarter 2 Electives

Friday, November 22nd - SPICES Day #2

Monday, November 25th - Friday, November 29th - Thanksgiving vacation